Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education


Urban, Stanley


Adult education; Learning disabled youth--Education (Higher)--United States


Disability and Equity in Education


The first purpose of this study is to identify common characteristics in a sample population of learning disabled dropouts who have returned to an adult basic education program. The second purpose is to identify characteristics of this same population which are attributed to their success in an adult education program. If we examine the information as reported by those learning disabled individuals who have been unsuccessful in completing their education, warning signals may be identified for other potential dropouts. Intervention strategies could also be created to encourage learning disabled students to stay in school. In addition, strategies may be developed for the recruitment of learning disabled dropouts who would benefit from an adult education program.

The sample population of this study consists of 15 adults, 5 men and 10 women, who have identified themselves as having a learning disability. All members of the sample dropped out of school prior to receiving their high school diploma and subsequently returned to an adult education program. Instrumentation included a survey and self-report identifying learning problems, perceptions of early school experiences, and characteristics of adult learning.

Results of the survey were consistent with other results related to this field and documented in this research. The majority of participants indicated that their early experience in school was characterized by high frustration, significant learning difficulties, poor social relations, low self esteem, and decreased motivation as attributed to unsuccessful efforts in education. After the same population was enrolled in adult basic education, the majority indicated that the experience has improved their self-esteem, social relations, and level of motivation. There are many intrinsic qualities which cannot be formally studied, and the learning disabled student has the ability to harness the most important resource – self.